Central Electric Receives Expanding Excellence Award at Customer Service Week Conference

Sanford-based Central Electric recently received a 2019 Expanding Excellence Award at the CS [Customer Service] Week conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The award, for Best Analytics Project, recognized the success Central Electric has seen after merging Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology with its previously existing outage management software (OMS).

Members of the Central Electric Customer Service, IT and Metering departments at the 2019 CS Week Conference.

“Prior to our change over to advanced meters, we relied heavily on members calling in to report power outages and our OMS to predict where there was trouble on our system,” Central Electric CEO and General Manager Eddie Oldham said. “However, when our team took it a step further and merged the existing OMS technology with the new advanced meters, we were able to know within minutes exactly where outages were occurring on our system.”

The co-op’s customer service, IT and metering departments worked together on the project over the course of a month. In addition to service status with 100-percent outage location accuracy, the solution captures meter tampering, heat alarms, partial power and bad wiring, all of which show up on a color-coded OMS map by meter location.

“The efficiency of our field operations has improved dramatically — dispatchers went from essentially guessing specific outage locations based on member phone calls to pinpointing the problem by exact meter location,” Oldham said. “The real test came after Hurricane Florence, when nearly half of our system went down. With AMI data informing the OMS, we had fully restored power within three days.”